The Truth About Failure

Every experience we term ‘failure’ holds a core of liberating truth within. The next time you feel as if you have somehow failed, review these truths and you will see why you do not need to fear failure!

There is no such thing as failure. The Course in Miracles teaches that there is no such thing as failure; there are only learning lessons. Failure implies a fixed state of affairs that invites judgment and suffering. In reality, everything in the world is a work in progress. Even when it feels like the force of life might crush you, these trying moments form part of a broader spectrum that can help you discover your true strength.

You can always start over again. You can start over in any area of your life, at any time. You have been endowed with the power of free choice. When you choose to drive down one street and find it clogged with traffic, you can choose to go down another road. Life is no different! If one choice seems to lead you down a dead-end, you can choose again.

All judgments are self-judgments. When you see yourself as a failure, you are standing in judgment over yourself. Instead of judging whether your effort is successful or not, focus on what you have learned from the experience. Then, look for ways you can apply what you have learned to make your next step more meaningful.

Forgive yourself. The Greek philosopher Socrates taught that each individual chooses only the good, based on their understanding of that good. Ask yourself whether you did your best with what you knew at the time. If you can answer ‘yes,’ forgive yourself for any self-judgment. If you did not act in the most responsible manner, decide what changes you need to make to remedy the situation, and then forgive yourself, resolving to apply the changes needed to move forward.

Give up the label. The pain of thinking of yourself as a failure can exist only for as long as you cling to it. Instead of looking at the circumstance in simplistic terms as success or failure, look at the situation from a broader perspective. You will find that there was a silver lining to even the darkest cloud. Once you can observe the experience from a larger viewpoint, you can let go of the limiting label of failure.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Even in the midst of an experience that feels like failure, you are learning, growing and expanding. If you look past the initial disappointment, you will find valuable ways in which you have grown. Perhaps the situation taught you the value of patience, or of surrendering to a Higher Power. Give thanks for what you have learned. When you can give thanks for the lessons learned or the qualities developed during the very times you struggled for survival, you will find the freedom to move forward.

Find the gift in the experience. The Universe is made up of energy, and energy can never be destroyed; it simply changes form. It means that when one door closes, another is bound to open! Perhaps the “failed” relationship is offering you the opportunity to attract a relationship that is more honoring to your being. If you have just been laid off work, the gift could be the opportunity to find work that is more appropriately aligned to your values.

Focus on what you want more of. It is your perception of failure that empowers it, because whatever you choose to focus on, you energize. Instead of focusing on failure, why not focus on the success you aspire to instead? By focusing on the desired outcome, you will find it easier to discover the action steps that lead to it.